Asian-Americans Make Up Most of the New U.S. Immigrant Population

Although the majority of U.S. foreign-born residents are Latin American, recent immigrants are most likely to arrive from Asia.

The number of foreign-born residents in the United States is now the highest it has been since 1910, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Compared to past decades, the country’s newest immigrants are most likely to come from Asia.

William H. Frey from the Brookings Institute analyzed the census data, which covers 2010-2017, and found that 41 percent of immigrants during those years arrived from Asia, while 39 percent came from Latin America, reports the New York Times. Though foreign-born U.S. residents as a whole are primarily Latin American—50 percent of the population, as opposed to the 31 percent who are Asian—recent data may suggest tides are shifting.

A demographer and professor at the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center, Frey explains the growing demographics of Asian-American communities in the U.S. in his recently published book Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America. According to 2010 data, Chinese and Indian residents make up the largest and second-largest portions of America’s Asian population, with the greatest numbers of both groups residing in New York City. Los Angeles is home to the country’s largest Filipino, Vietnamese, and Korean communities, who make up the next biggest Asian populations in the nation. With the rise in Asian-Americans across the country, however, Asian-American communities are now flourishing in Atlanta, Austin, and Raleigh.

This expanding Asian immigration also coincides with an increase in highly educated immigrants. Frey found that 45 percent of immigrants who entered the country after 2010 had college degrees, compared to 30 percent of those who arrived between 2000 and 2009.

Despite rising education levels of the U.S. immigrant population in recent years, economic disparity among Asian-Americans is growing. The Pew Research Center reports that “income inequality in the U.S. is greatest among Asians.” The difference between high-earning Asian-Americans and their low-earning counterparts is vast, with those at the top of the spectrum earning 10 times more than those at the bottom.

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